26 April 2001
Disease boosts assurance uptake

By FWI staff

FOOT-AND-MOUTH disease has led to a marked increase in the number of farmers seeking to join Scottish Quality Cereals, claims the scheme inspectorate.

About 300 farmers have applied to join SQC for the first time this year, says Peter Brown, managing director of Scottish Food Quality Certification.

“The foot-and-mouth situation has highlighted to everyone the need for farm assurance,” said Mr Brown.

Mr Brown said for the past three years SQC membership has been fairly static at about 2500.

“But as a result of foot-and-mouth, and the grain trade across the board now demanding assured crops, we have seen about 300 new farmers applying to join.”

Most inspections are suspended due to the outbreak, but SQC chairman David Houghton urges farmers to submit all 2001 applications as quickly as possible.

SQC cannot guarantee that any received after the end of April will have an assessment in time for this years harvest, said Mr Houghton.

New subscriptions have been cut by 10% to 85-270 depending on farm size and there is a one-off rebate this year of 35% for existing members.

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